Yoga Therapy for Hypothyroidism and Hyperthyroidism- Part 4

Updated: Mar 25, 2021

Going through this series of articles on thyroid management, we, reached to this final article dedicated to describe the recommended yogic practices for hyperthyroidism. In Part 1 we reviewed the thyroid function, the common problems of the thyroid gland and the symptoms one may experience if having hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism or thyroid nodules. Part 2 showed you the emotional root causes and chakras imbalances behind thyroid disorders. In the previous, Part 3 we unveiled the natural secrets of yoga therapy for hypothyroidism.

Many studies reveal the success of adding yoga as complimentary therapy to be effective in managing and preventing thyroid disorders. Yoga looks towards the individual as a complete system of mind, body and spirit. While modern medicine treats the symptoms of illness, yoga focuses on the whole system and resolution of the root causes of any disease to achieve wellness. That is why both together make a great combination in managing thyroid problems. Additionally, the twisting, stretching and compressing yoga poses helps to massage the thyroid gland and thereby release of the thyroid hormone is regulated.

Yoga Therapy for Thyroid

It is important to remind again that yoga therapy is considered a complementary therapy, and one should always follow their doctor’s advice prior making any changes in their diet and lifestyle. Stressful lifestyle is one of the main causes behind thyroid issues, and yoga is the perfect way to teach one how to adequately cope with stress.

Recommended Diet (Ahara) for both Hypothyroidism & Hyperthyroidism

  • Changing to Sattvic food is very beneficial for all types of disorders.

  • Drink plenty of water (8-10 glasses)

  • Have lime juice 1-2 times/day

  • Iron-rich foods are important for the production of T4 hormone, such as dates, black raisins, figs, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds, green leafy vegetables, beetroot, lentils, chickpeas, kidney beans etc.

For hyperthyroidism:

To eat:

  • Fruits and vegetables

  • Food high in proteins, vitamin B, Iron and antioxidants

  • Calcium rich food and vitamin D for bone density

  • Thyroid depressing products (goitrogens) such as cruciferous vegetables- cabbage, kale, spinach, Brussel sprouts, cauliflower etc.

  • Nuts- almonds and walnuts in moderate quantity

  • Millets, soy and soya products (tofu, soya sauce)

  • Anti-inflammatory food such as ginger

  • Small, frequent meals are recommended because the faster metabolism may quickly lose important nutrients and minerals

  • Consider taking vitamin supplements

To avoid:

  • Avoid iodine rich food- sea food, milk, diary etc., and iodine fortified salts, potatoes, peanuts, peaches, mustard, turnip, cheese, strawberries etc.

  • Gluten as it increases inflammations

  • Packaged and refined food

  • Alcohol, caffeine, tobacco and other stimulants as they stimulate the nervous system even more and may worsen heart rate, palpitations, oxygen levels and anxiety

  • Allergens as one of the causes for hyperthyroidism is oxidative stress caused by gut inflammation and toxins build up

Yoga Practices for Hyperthyroidism

  • Avoid overexertion as the point is to slow down the metabolism which is over- exhausting the body anyways

  • Sahaj Bhavasanas (simple neck exercises) that stretch and mobilize the neck are good for both conditions

  • Regular Kryias (to decrease toxins build-up and mucous) and Yoni Mudra

  • Regular asanas at a slow and relaxing pace

  • Weight-bearing asanas that will help with the bone density problem such as Vrkshasana (tree pose), Tikonasana (triangle pose), Virabhadrasana 2 (warrior 2 pose), Parshvakonasana (extended side angle pose), Shalabhasana (locust pose), Setubandhasana (half bridge pose), Adho Mukha Shvanasana (downward-facing dog)- in a relaxed slow manner only

  • Cat-Cow Stretch (Marjariasana)

  • Child Pose (Balasana)

  • Very slow-paced Surya Namaskars practiced with mantra chanting will have a calm and soothing effect. One should be careful because Surya Namaskar stimulates the metabolism, so better do not perform it at all if not done in a relaxed manner.

  • All relaxation poses and techniques are recommended because conscious relaxation copes with stress and fatigue and decreases the metabolic rate. Twice a day or whenever one feels tired practice any relaxation technique such as- Nishpandabhava, Makarasana, Dhradasana, Shavasana, abdominal breathing.

  • Meditation must be practiced daily to clean up and relax the mind

  • Choose cooling and calming pranayams such as- Anulom-Vilom, Sheetali, Seetkari with breath retention, Brahmari, Pranayam 4 (abdominal breathing) and Chandra Bhedana.

  • Jalandhara bandha may be practiced with great caution during pranayamas with breath retention. Its aim is to steady the nervous system and to restrict the flow of prana (energy) in the chest. - BUT to be strictly avoided in heart conditions and hypertension which are common in hyperthyroidism!

  • Mantras chanting (such as Omkar) has also beneficial effects on the thyroid gland, as it releases emotions, strengthens and massages the throat area and has a calming effect on the nervous system.

  • Trataka may be included to strengthen the eyes which may be also affected by thyroid disease.

  • Practice of mauna help, especially if one tends to speak a lot, without saying much.

Other Yogic Lifestyle Tips for Hyperthyroidism

  • Have a relaxing hobby such as gardening, drawing, singing, listening to music, playing an instrument, meditating, painting etc.

  • Walk regularly at a slow pace (minimum 30 minutes/day) in natural calm surroundings

  • Meals and rest at regular times- Dinacharya takes care of your healthy routines

  • Moisturize your skin and hair- coconut oil is a great natural moisturizer

  • Make sure that you get enough sun in the morning and evening for 10-15 min.

  • Cool your body when you experience extra sweating and heat sensitivity- wear loose clothing from natural materials

  • Take care of your eyes- close them for a while when they are tired, splash them often with cold water or use eye drops and always wear sunglasses outside.

  • If you experience insomnia, have a strict and relaxing sleep routine. Try practicing abdominal breathing and shavasana before sleeping.

  • Acceptance of one’s ailment is very important. Develop vairagya attitude (letting go) towards life. Understand that everything changes and will pass sooner or later.

  • Write 10 positive points each night and learn to choose positivity over negativity.

  • Let your faith be bigger that your fear.

Those were our recommendations for managing thyroid disorders. Hopefully, this guide will help you understand your condition better and will motivate you to adopt most of the lifestyle tips we listed. Don't forget to keep us updated of the positive changes you will start experiencing by following our simple plan.

And remember- take care of your thyroid gland with those easy yogic lifestyle changes and contact us for any further help and yoga therapy recommendations. Leave us a comment below to let us know if we missed something in our guide, your opinion or challenges.

Have a wonderful day.


Series links: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3.

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